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Success Advice

The Art of Winning Friends and Building Bridges



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I have come across a few people in my life who are gems but they hardly communicate with others. They are hidden gems but fail to discover themselves and communicate with others due to their introversion. Generally, the people who talk more, write less while the people who talk less, write more; and the people who talk more, listen less while the people who talk less, listen more. Of course, we cannot judge people based on external appearance. In this regard, we will discuss the art and craft of starting a conversation, making friends, and building bridges.

When you meet someone, smile and introduce yourself. Extend your hand and say ‘Hi’. Identify one specific positive trait in the person and underscore it with authenticity. You gain trust and confidence from the person. Find out his/her interests and passions and start a conversation if you know those areas. If you don’t have any knowledge in that area, express your enthusiasm to learn from the person.  If the other person is not in the mood of starting any conversation, respect the person and leave the place coolly with a smile. 

Tips to make friends

When you want to grow in your life, you must ask. When you want to ask a favor from others, you must create conversation to build a rapport. Hence, understanding the psychology of the people and appreciating their behavior will help you connect with them instantly. Here are some tips for your arsenal to initiate conversation and make friends:

  • Be passionate about the people. 
  • Observe the body language of the person. If you find it positive, make eye contact, smile, and move towards the person to start a conversation.  
  • Create a positive impression and positive vibes.   
  • Be generous to compliment people.  Avoid usage of negative words and adjectives. Instead, use positive words and the right adjectives to impact others. Mark Twain rightly remarked, “A man’s character may be learned from the adjectives which he habitually uses in conversation.”  
  • Make small talk and demonstrate your authenticity to listen and converse. 
  • Create a common ground to continue your conversation. 
  • Avoid asking personal questions about marital status and salary. Draw a line clearly and be within it before you create your conversation. 
  • Avoid asking close-ended questions that involve a one-word response. Instead, ask open-ended questions to enable the person to open up and communicate. 
  • Ask general and neutral questions. Don’t bombard with too many probing questions that sound interrogating people. 
  • Encourage them to talk about themselves. Dale Carnegie rightly remarked, “Talk to someone about themselves and they’ll listen for hours.”  
  • Don’t offer unsolicited advice. You must build your credibility before you offer your advice to others. 
  • Choose neutral topics that suit people irrespective of gender and community. Stay away from gender, religious and political aspects to avoid controversies.  
  • Keep cultural aspects in view when you converse with strangers to avoid being misunderstood. 
  • Use your presence of mind to exit from the conversation if it is leading to controversies.  
  • If you are good at humor, use it to make the person laugh. But don’t experiment if you are not an expert in humor because it boomerangs. 
  • Stick to ethics and etiquette to create an everlasting impression on others. Your quality of conversation is more important than the quantity of conversation.

When you talk to people, you learn something from them. You can also help them by sharing your expertise and experience. When you speak more, you listen less. When you speak less, you listen more. Hence, encourage the person to speak so that you can listen. Instead of seeking your approval and validation, identify positive traits in others, enlighten and elevate them. Approve and validate them to enhance your influence and impact. 

“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.” ―Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Life is an experiment!

I am not a party animal. I rarely socialize with others because my passion for writing books takes a lot of time. At times, I find it difficult to get along with women. When I analyzed the reasons, I realized that it is due to my military background. I served in Indian Air Force where I interacted with men, not women. I still feel shy to interact with women. I tried to interact with women but I found it challenging. Most times, I fear being misunderstood by them.

If you fail to connect with a specific stranger, don’t lose your heart. Try to converse with another stranger. Some people are not keen to converse because of their attitude, nature, and moods. They may be dis-interested to talk to you due to perceptions. 

I am not a technology expert and I am keen to update myself. Hence, when I find young people in the gym and other places, I talk to them to understand the technology and how it is revolutionizing the world. I seek their advice to connect with them. In this way, I update myself on technology and give importance to the person. I personally opine that millennials are often misunderstood as lazy people. But the fact is that they are undoubtedly smart and brilliant and follow the road less traveled.

Fear of failure, rejection, and criticism are the main reasons why people often don’t converse with others. Life is an experiment and you must learn by trial and error method. There is nothing wrong with experimenting to lead an exciting life. If you succeed, you influence others otherwise you learn a lesson. Hence, don’t hesitate to talk to strangers. However, keep the cultural and gender aspects in view when you converse with others. 

Technology cannot replace human relations

With growing technology, people are busy with their gadgets rather than interacting with others. There is less social interaction and more social media interaction. Probably the millennials presently and the people in the future will find it challenging to get along with people. It appears that friendship will become a rare commodity in the future as people make gadgets as their friends. It is time they changed their mindset by preferring human relations to digital relations. 

It is time we emphasized social interaction and created meaningful conversations to build bridges with others. To summarize, the conversation is an art and craft that can be learned easily. It is not a talent but a skill that can be honed if you are passionate about networking and building relations. Every professional must converse and communicate with others. Hence, cultivate this art and craft to connect with others instantly to influence and inspire them to excel as leaders. 

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and the Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You’ URL: He is a C-Suite advisor and global keynote speaker. He brings a strategic eye and long-range vision given his multifaceted professional experience including military, teaching, training, research, consultancy, and philosophy. He is passionate about serving and making a difference in the lives of others. He is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine. He trains a new generation of leaders through leadership education and publications.

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Success Advice

20 Ways You Can Become a Powerful Communicator



Emile Steenveld Speaker and Coach

Some people seem to naturally know how to effectively communicate in a group setting. They can express themselves clearly and listen attentively without dominating the conversation.

Being a powerful communicator is important for several reasons, including building and maintaining relationships, achieving goals, resolving conflicts, improving productivity, leading and influencing others, advancing in your career, expressing yourself more confidently and authentically, and improving your mental and emotional well-being. Effective communication is an essential life skill that can benefit you in all aspects of your life.

But, don’t worry if you don’t naturally possess this skill, as effective communication is something that can be developed with practice, planning and preparation.

1.  Listen actively: Practice active listening by giving your full attention to the speaker and responding to what they are saying.


2. Use “I” statements: Speak from your own perspective and avoid placing blame or making accusations.


3. Avoid assumptions: Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is thinking or feeling.


4. Be clear: Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and concisely by getting to the point and avoid using jargon or overly complex language.


5. Show empathy: Show that you understand and care about the other person’s feelings.


6. Offer valuable insights: When speaking in a group, provide a valuable takeaway or actionable item that people can walk away with.


7. Be an active listener: Listen attentively and respond accordingly, incorporating your points into the conversation.


8. Choose the right time: Pick the most opportune time to speak to ensure that you have the group’s attention and can deliver your message without interruption.


9. Be the unifying voice: Step in and unify the group’s thoughts to calm down the discussion and insert your point effectively.


10. Keep responses concise: Keep responses short and to the point to show respect for others’ time.


11. Avoid unnecessary comments: Avoid commenting on everything and only speak when you have something important to say.


12. Cut the fluff: Avoid being long-winded and get straight to the point.


13. Prepare ahead of time: Sort out your points and practice them before speaking in a group.


14. Smile and be positive: Smile and nod along as others speak, to build a positive relationship and be respected when it’s your turn to speak.


15. Take responsibility: Take responsibility for your own actions and feelings.


16. Ask questions: Ask questions to clarify any confusion or misunderstandings.


17. Avoid interrupting: Allow the other person to finish speaking without interruption.


18. Practice active listening: Repeat what the other person said to ensure you have understood correctly.


19. Use your body language too: Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and body language to convey your message and build rapport.


20. Be aware of the tone of your voice: it should be calm and assertive, not aggressive or passive.


By keeping these tips in mind, you can improve your communication skills and become a more powerful communicator, which can help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a more fulfilling life.

I you want to learn how to become more confident in life then you can join my weekly mentorship calls and 40+ online workshops at so you can master your life with more success.

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Success Advice

Dead Men Tell No Tales: How to Navigate a Mutiny as a Leader in 10 Steps

You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way



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You’re the manager. You’re the supervisor. You’re the leader. But maybe your people don’t see it that way and perhaps that has created a divisive and adversarial working environment that makes it difficult for you to influence and inspire your team in a way that meets your vision. (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Think Like a CEO for Your Future Success

A blueprint for CEOs to draw a disciplined strategy



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Strategic thinking helps CEOs build successful businesses. It helps them establish everlasting enterprises. It is one of the key elements of decision-making. It is different from strategic leadership. It differentiates between leaders from managers.  (more…)

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Success Advice

How to Focus Your Mind on Your Goals in 2023 Constructively

In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds



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In this world of distractions due to information overload, it has become a big challenge to focus our minds on positive aspects and constructive activities. Sometimes we waste our precious time mentally and physically due to distractions arising out of technology. We must understand our priorities and learn how to focus on them religiously. (more…)

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